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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Editorial on Supreme Court at Port Phillip, 1841

Source: Port Phillip Patriot, 1 April 1841


WHEN originally apprised that though Government had at length condescended to give us a Judge, and all the paraphernalia of a Supreme Court, it would still be necessary, as before, to send deeds, &c., to Sydney for registry, we could scarcely believe the evidence of our own senses; indeed it took some time to convince us that the Government had been guilty of the excessive folly of appointing a registrar who is without the power of performing any single function that ordinarily belongs to the Registrar of a Supreme Court.

We find, however, on enquiry, that this is really the case. In the Act of the Governor and Legislative Council, authorising the establishment of a Supreme Court at Port Phillip, no provision is made for legalising the registry of deeds here, nor indeed is there any clause giving power to the officer who has been dignified with the title of registrar, to act in that capacity. Deeds and mortgages of every description must therefore be sent to Sydney as before for registration, and the colonists of Port Phillip will still be left till the government can remedy this blunder, completely at the mercy of every rascal who can contrive to sell his property over and over again.

Nor is this the only absurdity connected with the establishment of the Supreme Court at Port Phillip. Dr. Raymond, we have been given to understand, is to all intents and purposes Sheriff of Port Phillip, yet it is a notorious fact that a worthy of the name of O'Brien, who calls himself a Sheriff's Officer, is at this very time setting Dr. Raymond at defiance, and acting as if the Supreme Court Act had never passed, and as if honest Mr. M'Quoid was still the Sheriff of this portion of the territory. What with Judge Willis' exertions and the aid of "An Act to amend an Act" to be passed next session of the Council, we dare say we shall all do very well by and by.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University